2017-04-02 / Insight

LILY IS MISSING

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

Lily is missing.

She’s not lost in the traditional sense, but we lost her when she died. We lost who she was but we also lost all she would be. And there was so much left to be. Lily was 2 and a half when she was murdered--a victim of child abuse at the hands of her stepmother. She had so much yet to be.

Lily is missing. She is missing from the photos parents post at Christmas of their children with Santa. She is missing from the yearbook at my children’s school.She is missing from the group of children searching for eggs at Easter. She is missing from the playground that bares her name in her memory.

Lily is missing. She is missing her first day of school. She is missing her first kiss. She is missing her wedding day. She is missing the career she would pursue and accomplishments she would achieve. She is missing having children of her own.

Lily is missing, but I still see her everywhere. I see her in my own daughter, who is only about 8 months older than Lily should be. I see her in the in the empty seat in a classroom or at the side of a child who will never have her as a best friend.I see her in the statistics: an estimated 1,825 children die from abuse each year. You might just see a number, but I see Lily.

I never even met her. I should have--it’s a small town and I know her family. She should be at the park and the school and summer concerts and Christmas tree lightings. I should know her like I know so many of your kids. But I missed out on that. From my life and yours and our kids lives, Lily is missing.

When we think of loss, we think of losing what was--but when a child dies you have to look also in terms of what never got to be. That’s hard enough when the death is natural or even accidental, but when a child is murdered, how do you wrap your mind around that? Who knows what impact she might have had on any moment, moments in which she is now missing?

It’s hard to think about. It’s hard to talk about. As a mother I sure as hell don’t like writing about it.

But here’s the thing; Lily is missing, but she is not gone.

Her voice is heard when we speak against child abuse. In those moments, when we speak out (even if our voice shakes, even if we type through tears) Lily is found.

On April 29th Lily’s family will host the annual Justice for Lily Ball instead of Lily’s 9th birthday party. She won’t get to blow out the candles and make a wish, it’s one more thing she is missing. I’ll make one though: I know so many business owners and people who know how to get things done. Please donate to this. Give items for the auction. Give money. Give support. Help out. Be her voice.

And in those moments when you find the strength to speak out, know it’s Lily you’ve found. Written by: Laurel Droz

Lily’s Story/get involved - facebook.com/JusticeForLily • justiceforlily.com

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